Operation HO HO HO lands at KGH site
Pediatric unit teams up with Santa Claus and Royal Canadian Air Force to bring cheer to pediatric patients
With the help of his friends in the Royal Canadian Air Force, Santa Claus paid an early to Kingston Health Sciences Centre’s (KHSC) Kingston General Hospital site (KGH) to deliver some Christmas cheer.
He arrived in style on a Ch-146 Griffon helicopter with help from the 400 Tactical Helicopter Squadron (THS). Alongside a team of volunteer elves from 1 Wing Headquarters, Santa spent some time delivering gifts to a group of delighted kids receiving care at KGH.
The event, officially called Operation HO HO HO, is celebrating its 16th anniversary this year. After seeing their colleagues run the event in Toronto and Edmonton, soldiers at 1 Wing Headquarters in Kingston were determined to bring it to life here.
“Operation HO HO HO has been an important event for many members of our team for well over a decade now and we are so happy to be able to introduce it to the children who find themselves staying at KGH during the holiday season,” says Lieutenant-Colonel Donald Couzens, Commanding Officer at 1 Wing Headquarters. “It truly is the season of giving and the headquarters had no trouble stepping up and raising funds for the gift bears. Each one was built with love and caring and will be there for the children when they need them most.”
For the children and families in need of care so close to the holidays, the festive visit was the perfect way to brighten up their hospital stay.
“We were thrilled when 1 Wing reached out to ask if they could bring Santa to KGH,” said Kerri-Lee Bisonette, manager of the pediatrics program at KHSC. “It’s magical for the kids, and it’s important that we try to give them a positive experience while they are here.”
The children were very excited to see Santa, but had one very important question for him: where exactly are Dasher, Dancer, and the other reindeer that normally help him get around?
“The reindeer are home at the North Pole resting their legs for a long night of work coming up on Christmas Eve,” explained Santa, when asked about his new mode of transportation. “Luckily for me, I have friends with cool helicopters. They aren’t as fast as reindeer, but they’re just as fun to fly.”